You’ve heard it countless times: Middle Tennessee is growing. People are moving here. Lots of them. Some businesses grow with the city, others fold. Unfortunately this is about a long-time establishment in Franklin that will be saying goodbye. When the announcement was made, I kept hearing from so many people about how bummed they were about it. So, I decided to talk to the owner, Tom Morales, about why he made the decision to close shop. It may surprise you…
Saffire in the Factor at Franklin will be closing its doors at the end of the year.
For the last 16 years, Saffire has been a staple in Franklin. “It’s like sending a kid off to college,” says Tom Morales, one of the owners of Saffire. The decision to close the restaurant was just as bittersweet.
“It’s been overwhelming. I woke up this morning I had 150 messages on Facebook. People saying, why are you doing it? And I’m thinking, well why aren’t you in here eating? I might not be making this decision,” says Morales.
Saffire is Franklin’s longest-standing privately-owned restaurant. “We were the first culinary restaurant in Middle Tennessee,” he says. “It was overwhelming the first 6 years.” But nostalgia isn’t paying the bills, and people just aren’t coming like they used to. “The timing of the factory was vibrant at one time. It gave us the walk-in traffic we needed. But now you need an event here to have foot traffic.”
Morales says a shortage of people was also a big part of their decision to close. “Human assets really are the reason. They are hard to come by in Nashville, we think they will be better used.” Morales says those people will all be protected and taken care of at his other Nashville restaurants.
But this isn’t the end for his Williamson County projects. “We are in negotiations with a few other people. We may emerge in another location with a different concept,” says Morales.
Until then, Morales and his business partner, Jennifer Masley, plan to go out with one last hoorah with their annual New Year’s Eve Party. “We hope December is the month and November too when everyone comes and says goodbye. We are going to be hanging out here spending a lot of time. Its sentimental. It was a hard decision. And we probably drug it along longer than we needed to.”
Mojo’s Tacos will be going into Saffire’s space.
Morales is also opening Woolworth on 5th Avenue soon.